Three local students among first recipients of teaching scholarships

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Scholarships to bring teachers to West Virginia were announced this month. The first Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars included 25 high school graduates from the Class of 2020 in West Virginia. Among those were two from Greenbrier County and one from McDowell County.

Wiley Byers of Greenbrier East will be attending Fairmont University to pursue a degree in math. Emily McElwain also of Greenbrier East is headed to Concord University to major in elementary education. Samuel Dudgeon of Mount View will go to Ohio Valley University for a math degree.

A virtual celebration for the scholars was held by the Higher Education Policy Commission on Wednesday, July 29.

“I’m incredibly proud of these young scholars, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next four years and beyond,” said Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Chancellor of West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System. “When we worked with the Legislature and Governor Justice last year to revamp this program, we knew we wanted to create a preeminent scholarship that would produce new generations of strong, committed teachers for years to come in the Mountain State. This cohort is just the beginning, and it’s certainly a bright one.” 

“I am pleased to congratulate the inaugural class of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars. Their interest in and commitment to education is commendable, and I know this scholarship is paving the way to build capacity among our teacher ranks,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “The challenges we face in filling content areas such as math, science and special education are very real. Programs such as this will assist us to meet the demand with a highly qualified corps of new teachers.”

Here is the complete list of scholars:

  • Maggie Bailey from Wirt County High School is attending West Virginia University at Parkersburg to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Emily Barr from Nicholas County High School is attending Glenville State College to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Kailee Beckman from North Marion High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in special education.
  • Olivia Burns from Hurricane High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Wiley Byers from Greenbrier East High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Payton Campbell from Lewis County High School is attending West Virginia Wesleyan College to pursue a degree in special education.
  • Kyler Carper from Wirt County High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Brooke Choiniere from Spring Mills High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Ashley Davis from Ritchie County High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Samuel Dudgeon from Mount View High School is attending Ohio Valley University to pursue a degree in math.
  • BreighAnne Glover from Hedgesville High School is attending Shepherd University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Chase Haines from Spring Mills High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Emma Haley from St. Clairsville High School in Ohio is attending West Liberty University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Josie Hill from Point Pleasant High School is attending Glenville State College to pursue a degree in math.
  • Somer Kerr from Philip Barbour High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Stori Ketterman from Petersburg High School is attending Shepherd University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Faith Lovejoy from Buffalo Putnam High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Jacob Massey from Sherman High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Emily McElwain from Greenbrier East High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Sophia Miller from Parkersburg South High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Megan Noss from Preston High School is attending West Virginia Wesleyan College to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Caroline Smith from Nicholas County High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Mallori Straub from Morgantown High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Isabella Vint from Scott High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Kensley White from Van Junior Senior High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.

The Underwood-Smith scholarship is West Virginia’s newest scholarship. It provides up to $10,000 per year, or up to $40,000, to prepare for a career as a teacher in the Mountain State. It is the first program in the state to be open to a national applicant pool. It aims to address teacher shortages in the fields of math, science, special education and elementary education.

The application process is now open for Class of 2021 seniors to apply. Visit underwoodsmith.org for more information.

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